For all of the teaching and research I do on sustainability…. living it, measuring it, valuing it…. I am occasionally a very poor example of it. In the past couple of weeks I have traveled to Scotland, Argentina, and Washington D.C.; ironically, those last two trips were meetings focused on the sustainability of carbon-neutral biofuels. Although I am very anxious about calculating my carbon footprint over these three trips (since I’d probably have to stop breathing for five years to get back to something close to carbon neutral), I am going to do it here as a form of very public shaming. I am hoping that it will motivate me to insist on more virtual trips…
Using this calculator, my total carbon footprint for the flights for these three trips was:
Houghton –> Scotland (measuring sustainable landscapes workshop) –> Houghton: 1.18 metric tons.
Houghton –> Argentina (Pan-American sustainable biofuels workshop) –> Houghton: 1.81 metric tons.
Houghton –> Washington, D.C. (NSF Sustainable Energy Pathways meeting) –> Houghton: 0.31 metric tons.
Total: 3.30 metric tons.
That’s roughly the same amount of carbon that a person in the Maldives emits PER YEAR. It would take roughly a hectare of forest a year to sequester the carbon from those three trips.